Continental Op

Continental Op

by Dashiell Hammett
4.3 3


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Continental Op by Dashiell Hammett

Short, thick-bodied, mulishly stubborn, and indifferent to pain, Dashiell Hammett's Continetal Op was the prototype for generations of tough-guy detectives. In these stories the Op unravels a murder with too many clues, looks for a girl with eyes the color of shadows on polished silver, and tangles with a crooked-eared gunman called the Whosis Kid.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781409138075
Publisher: Orion
Publication date: 04/28/2012

About the Author

Dashiell Samuel Hammett was born in St. Mary’s County. He grew up in Philadelphia and Baltimore. Hammett left school at the age of fourteen and held several kinds of jobs thereafter—messenger boy, newsboy, clerk, operator, and stevedore, finally becoming an operative for Pinkerton’s Detective Agency. Sleuthing suited young Hammett, but World War I intervened, interrupting his work and injuring his health. When Sergeant Hammett was discharged from the last of several hospitals, he resumed detective work. He soon turned to writing, and in the late 1920s Hammett became the unquestioned master of detective-story fiction in America. In The Maltese Falcon (1930) he first introduced his famous private eye, Sam Spade. The Thin Man (1932) offered another immortal sleuth, Nick Charles. Red Harvest (1929), The Dain Curse (1929), and The Glass Key (1931) are among his most successful novels. During World War II, Hammett again served as sergeant in the Army, this time for more than two years, most of which he spent in the Aleutians. Hammett’s later life was marked in part by ill health, alcoholism, a period of imprisonment related to his alleged membership in the Communist Party, and by his long-time companion, the author Lillian Hellman, with whom he had a very volatile relationship. His attempt at autobiographical fiction survives in the story “Tulip,” which is contained in the posthumous collection The Big Knockover (1966, edited by Lillian Hellman). Another volume of his stories, The Continental Op (1974, edited by Stephen Marcus), introduced the final Hammett character: the “Op,” a nameless detective (or “operative”) who displays little of his personality, making him a classic tough guy in the hard-boiled mold—a bit like Hammett himself.

Date of Birth:

May 27, 1894

Date of Death:

January 10, 1961

Place of Birth:

St. Mary, Maryland

Place of Death:

New York


Baltimore Polytechnic Institute

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The Continental Op 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
ExiledNewYorker More than 1 year ago
Continental Op is a collection of short stories about an unnamed, unappreciated private detective who set many of the patterns for which American detective stories of the "hard boiled" school became famous. The stories are crisp and taut and don't really seem dated.
ks9833 More than 1 year ago
As a fan of the Crime Noir Movies I sought to find the inspiriation for those great characters and dialogue. I was pleasantly surprised to find the dialogue I loved so much in those classic films was directly influenced by the wrirters of the original novels. I found this novel as comforting and enjoyable as sitting to watch those old films. With the added benefit of my imagination playing out the story in glorious black and white.
jack123 More than 1 year ago
The stories are written with precision but never drabness. They have such a rich depth to them that it keeps the reader's interest occupied. The dialogue is plain with vernacular from the 20's and true to life. You feel like you're in the same room, car, or street corner listening to the character's conversations. The descriptions of people, places, and things are so vivid yet compact. You can see it all in your mind and the plot hooks you and suddenly you're caught up and can't put the book down. I loved this book because of the short stories that allowed me to put the book down once and a while!